ST 2538 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2538 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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A few hints to get you started.

Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 4th June.


1a    Ordered in Paris pattern that’s needed for sweater? (14)
An anagram (ordered) of IN PARIS PATTERN gives you something that’s needed for someone who sweats – wonderful misdirection into knitwear

12a    Kind of protection nobody else can afford (4-7)
Isn’t the English language wonderful? Read this again, but this time think of the alternative meaning of afford as provide

27a    Ability to respond quickly professor supposedly lacks? (8,2,4)
This ability to respond quickly is cryptically defined as something a forgetful professor supposedly lacks


1d    Commercial vehicle on street helping government (14)
A long charade of a commercial, a small vehicle, the abbreviation for street and a helping, of food perhaps, give a synonym for government

13d    Very cold — round North, it’s zero, possibly, in Fahrenheit several times (6,5)
This is very easy once you see the answer – a term meaning very cold is constructed by putting around N(orth) an anagram (possibly) of IT’S ZERO and then putting this all inside F(ahrenheit) several times (three in total)

21d         Kind of drive small car (6)
The first definition is a game that is played collectively in a drive, in the same way that you have a Whist Drive – the other definition is small car

25d    Something highly entertaining from Gilbert and Sullivan, initially (3)
A word meaning highly entertaining, as in it’s a ***, comes very simply from the initial letters of Gilbert And Sullivan

If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!



  1. Posted May 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Sundays from Virgilius have been great recently and this is keeping up the tradition. 7d, 13d were up there but my favourite is 1a. I found this just a tad easier than the last couple of weeks.

  2. prolixic
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Seriously smooth cluing and great entertainment from the Sunday Supremo. The crossword was a delight to solve. 1a was my favourite clue too.

  3. Jezza
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable; probably my favourite of the week! Last to enter was 15a, as I did not read the clue correctly.
    Thanks to Virgilius.

    • Posted May 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Same here, Jezza, but only because I was looking at the wrong end of the clue for the definition!. Also the use of ‘I’ in this way has been the subject of some Cruciverbalist discussions (probably over a pint!)

      • Jezza
        Posted May 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        It was the ‘I’ that totally through me….I personally don’t like it.

  4. claire
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Found this tricky today – have been at it off and on all afternoon & now left with 6 clues to do. Any further help with 4d & 8d might help. Still have 9a, 19a, 24a & 18d to go! Sadly I already had all those clued above :-(

    • Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      8d Made approximation that wasn’t highly inaccurate (14)
      If your estimate was not highly inaccurate but was ‘lowly’ inaccurate, this is what you would have done!

      9a Red Cross is in place for trading (7)
      The definition is well disguised at start (think Russian). The remainder is the wordplay/instruction to put a Cross and IS in a trading place (abbreviated for us in the UK!)

      That should help with some cross checking – let us know if you need any more hints.

  5. claire
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Now have 8d (I think – though not sure why!) and 19a – just 4 left now.

    • Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      18d Expert at wheel, perhaps, protecting learner – one included in plan (7)
      The wheel in question is used in arts and crafts so we need the person who might be skilled in its use. In that you need the standard abbreviation for a learner.

  6. claire
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Gnomethang! – understand 8d now and have 9a will persevere with the last 3 :-)

  7. Steve
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I have now worked 15a using Word Wizard and now understand the use of the ‘I’. Not fair – I don’t like it one bit!!!

    • Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Steve

      • Steve
        Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Big Dave. I have to confess to using your blog almost on a daily basis without contributing. I really appreciate the hints / answers as I’m still learning the way with cryptic crosswords.

        6d is really frustrating me on this one.

        • Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          6d Sheet music (3)
          As you might expect this is a double definition – a derogatory term for a newspaper and the kind of music popularised by Scott Joplin

          • Prolixic
            Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

            There’s a funny echo on the blog today! :)

          • Steve
            Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Thank you.

            The last one to go is 4d, which is probably being confused with my answer for 9a which I’m not convinced is right.

            • Steve
              Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

              Yes – my answer for 9a was wrong, I had an ‘M’ at the end. All done now. Thanks all for the help this evening.

        • Prolixic
          Posted May 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          The sheet is another name for a newspaper. It shares a name with a type of music associated with musicians like Scott Joplin

  8. claire
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    well – i persevered but still can’t get 18d or 24a. A clue or two would be good….

  9. claire
    Posted May 30, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Oops – just seen your hint above Gnomethang & have finally finished – many thanks!!

  10. Brian Greer
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled why anyone should have a problem with I (the Roman numeral) = one, though it is more commonly used in the opposite direction i.e. “one” in the clue giving I in the answer..

    • Posted May 31, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I too was puzzled – it certainly wasn’t a clue that I picked out in advance as being potentially troublesome.

      New readers might not know that Brian is the setter for the Sunday puzzles.

    • Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Since you put it like that, Brian, so am I!. Perhaps it grates on me unnecessarily from when I have seen Ten = IO which I really don’t like!.
      Thanks for the puzzle(s)!.

  11. Brian Greer
    Posted May 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi gnomethang

    Absolutely! IO = ten is a monstrosity, in my book